Parents' Guide to

If I Ran the Zoo

By Peter Lewis, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 4+

Fantasy of a zanier zoo has problematic images.

If I Ran the Zoo Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 6+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 7+

If I ran a zoo

I think it’s a great book it’s worth a lot too

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 4+

Pretty Racist

Hey so my kid got this book from the library and it has racist depictions of Asian people and Middle Eastern people. So maybe skip this one, it hasn't aged well.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5 ):
Kids say (4 ):

This Seuss book is a joyride of verse and ridiculous creatures that has some problematic images among the fanciful illustrations. Here is life lived as a fantastical experience, lit by an imagination that shimmers and bursts like fireworks. Though the animals are pure figments, Seuss transports readers into the adventure with Gerald McGrew as he globetrots in search of the best wild animals. Unfortunately, some of the people Gerald sees in faraway places are presented as racist stereotypes, including "Persian princes" wearing billowy pants and turbans; two barefoot, shirtless African men with top knots and wearing large nose rings and grass skirts; and three Asian men wearing tunics and wooden sandals.

Seuss stumbles as he dishes up some shocking verbally and visually racist commentary: "I'll hunt in the mountains of Zomba-ma-Tant / With helpers who all wear their eyes at a slant," or the Indian chieftains whom Gerald will display along with the "scraggle-footed Mulligatawny," or the African porters. Now is as good a time as any to have a discussion about how stereotypes can be hurtful.

Book Details

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